Not to digress, but first, how do you like my fabulous suit? I bought it with the salary the New York Times paid me when I was their man in Moscow, my last big assignment before I was sent south. You probably want to know a little about me and my work and how I got to where I am today.
I covered the Soviet Union, that great, noble social experiment in communism, from 1922 until 1936. I knew everybody. I was the most famous correspondent in the world. I had access to Lenin and Stalin and knew everybody it was necessary to know. Vicious reactionaries, jealous of my spectacular successes, petulantly claimed I helped cover up the forced starvation of Ukraine by the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin and the Communist authorities. It may be true that in 1932-33, more than 7 million people died, and it may be true that my reporting didn’t actually dwell on those kinds of trivialities, and it’s quite possibly true that I helped discredit other journalists who tried to go negative in their reporting of communism and the Soviet Union by discussing things like the genocide in Ukraine. As if anybody actually cared. Ukraine. Find it on a map.
My take on Stalin’s campaign of terror: “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” Pretty good line, no? I worked hard and did what I could to make Stalin and communism look good. I was the kind of journalist that George Clooney would call “courageous.” (One question for you, George: Why Murrow and not me? I like Ed, he’s my friend, but hell.)
In 1932, I was awarded a Pulitzer for my work.
That prize made my enemies livid. Even after eighty years, they’re still trying to bring me down (and I’m a man with one leg!). Every now and then, the Pulitzer board meets to consider taking the prize back, but so far they’ve stood up for the truth as I reported it: “The board concluded that there was not clear and convincing evidence of deliberate deception.” Exactly. Maybe a few typos, but everybody makes a mistake.In fact, the board asked me to organize and host the Albert Pulitzer Prizes, which are slightly different from those established in honor of Albert’s brother, Joseph.
My Pulitzer stands, a monument to the organization that awarded it. I was touched when my young (if somewhat off-putting) acquaintance Pinch said, “We respect and commend the Pulitzer board for its decision on this complex and sensitive issue.” Is it any wonder my paper made me Gehenna bureau chief, a plum position most of my colleagues will die for, sooner or later? I think of it as my final reward: Great weather. No humidity. Think Gaza, without those annoying Jews!
In fact, don’t believe what the right-wing religious bigots say about this place. It’s wonderful here. To tell the truth, hell was made for journalists just like me. So to my fleshly friends I say when you leave the Times or or the AP or CNN or CBS – believe me this is exactly where you want to go. It’s media heaven! We all blog of course. You can read my dispatches from downtown way down-under right here.
Herbert Matthews. Edgar Snow. Louise Bryant and Jack Reed. That crazy dame Anna Louise Strong. My friends and I all love it in hell. So Moyers! Raines! Apple! When you get here, call me! I know everybody! Really fabulous place. Truly. It’s the afterlife of the future. I’ve seen it first-hand and I can tell you one thing for sure: it works. Plus, I’ve lost weight! Bryant still has a few pounds to go, though. (Talk about fat.) Well, enough. I do go on…and I’m already late for Chinese at Mao’s!